Are you pet-ready for disaster in Tahoe?

Dawn ArmstrongSpecial to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. – Tornadoes in Missouri and as close as Sacramento … floods along the Mississippi and a winter flood watch in the Sierra … multiple rumblings from the Ring of Fire … are you and your pets ready to evacuate on short notice? Here are some planning tips. Pack your pet’s emergency kit now. Those who evacuated during the Angora fire of 2007 know how important it is to have the entire family – including pets – ready to “Go now!” That means having food, water and comfort items pre-packed. Here’s how to outfit your pets for the recommended plan, seven unexpected days away from a home and supply store.1. Obtain individual crates or carriers large enough for safe confinement. Pet should be able to stand, turn around and lie down. Smaller dog crates can hold a cat and a small aluminum litter pan. Let pets become familiar with their crate. 2. Pre-pack and store the crate and a separate container with: favorite type of toy and bedding; extra collar or harness with leashes for both dogs and cats; bowls; food (dry or self-opening cans) and bottled water; cleaning supplies; cat litter and scoop; plastic dog waste bags; a pet first-aid kit.3. Pack a watertight bag with: instant ID tag for temporary phone number in case of evacuation; current close-up pet photo and a photo of pet with a family member for proof to claim a rescued pet; copy of current vaccination records (boarding facilities and temporary pet shelters require proof of rabies, distemper, parvo and bordatella); medications and medical records; and a phone list including local and out-of-area veterinarians and boarding kennels, pet-friendly housing alternatives, neighbors and local county animal services.4. Four times a year, rotate medications and food in airtight, waterproof containers. Freshen bottled water just for pets. A rule of thumb for dogs is one gallon per day for a 40-pound dog and one quart per day for each cat.5. Other emergency planning: For the special needs of birds, fish and exotics. You may need a generator and fuel for temperature control, safe handling equipment, and other life saving items; consider microchipping for permanent ID; establish and practice a family plan including how the pets will be gathered and who will take the pre-packed pet supplies; establish a neighbor plan and agree to look out for each other’s pets if someone is absent.At the first disaster alert, get pets inside. Your distress communicates directly to your pets. Leash them immediately, put pets in their carriers and supplies into the car. Never leave your pets behind. If you must, do not tie them up. Leave lots of water in bath tubs and containers. Immediately call county animal services to request pet rescue when it is safe. Phone lines will be busy or out of order. Current ID tags and pet photos are critical to getting your pet back.Ask for a free Pet Emergency Kit from the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. Call 530-542-2857.- Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help “Keep Tahoe Kind.” Dawn Armstrong is the executive director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A.

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